Not a friendly face. Art:DamianFulton.com.

The Inertia

Exploring and surfing new spots is part of what keeps surfing fun and fresh. The trade off is inevitable, though; one is bound to run into conflict along the way if he or she isn’t careful. Just as dogs can be territorial, it’s no secret that wave riders can be just as primal. So here are four golden rules to follow when exploring and surfing new terrain along any coastline.

1. Leave the squad at home and go solo

Or go, if you have to keep company, make sure it’s just one other person. Preferably this is someone that isn’t obnoxious and won’t piss off the natives (or you). While it’s nice spending time with a large group of friends in the lineup, just put the shoe on the other foot and imagine surfing your home wave when all of the sudden it’s bombarded with a new group of people.

2. Wait your turn and don’t burn anybody

While avoiding burning people is a general rule of thumb no matter where you are, it’s something to be especially aware of in unfamiliar territory. Understand that when you explore, you are visiting the homes of other people. Don’t just assume everybody follows the “mi casa es su casa” motto. Instead, keep in mind that most people would rather surf without you than with you. Maybe if they knew you they would think and feel differently about that; but they don’t. So if you’re hoping to break the ice with some locals, put a smile on your face, patiently wait your turn, and absolutely don’t drop in on anyone.

3. Don’t document without permission

Whether it’s a smart phone, GoPro or DSLR, some people may get angry when they see a stranger taking photos or shooting video of their spots. Yes, the ocean belongs to everyone, but some people just don’t see it that way. Plus, it can flat out just be considered disrespectful and, everybody’s ocean or not, showing respect is ultimately what matters. So make sure you find out if it’s okay to document certain places before you start loading up your CF card with files that will majorly piss some people off.

4. Don’t be “that guy.” No same day posts

As if surf cams weren’t menacing enough, same day social media posts are the ultimate crowd builder. Since some people are innately lazy and aren’t used to getting out of bed to check the surf, don’t be the guy that enables their bandwagon habits with live updates. Chances are, if you do that on good days, not only will the lazies peel themselves from those beds, but they will more than likely be the very people swiping set waves from right under your nose.


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